Our History

Beth Sholom Congregation, a Conservative Jewish congregation, was founded in 1918 in the Logan section of Philadelphia and named “house of peace” (the meaning of the Hebrew name) in honor of the end of World War I. Beth Sholom moved out of the city to Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, shortly after World War II. The Beth Sholom Center opened in the new location in 1951, while services continued in the original building. Two years later, Rabbi Mortimer J. Cohen persuaded Frank Lloyd Wright to accept the commission for the only synagogue he ever designed in his long career.

Wright accepted the commission in December 1953, and the architect and the rabbi established a fruitful working partnership that led to one of a small group of religious buildings Wright completed. The synagogue was dedicated on September 20, 1959, just over five months after Wright’s death.

Within a few years of its completion, Beth Sholom Synagogue was singled out by the American Institute of Architects and the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of the seventeen Wright buildings most worthy of preservation. Beth Sholom was listed as a National Historic Landmark in 2007.

For a detailed timeline and photos of our synagogue please click below.